Dell announced plans back in February to turn itself back into a privately run company via a $24.4 billion leveraged buyout, financed in part by a $2 billion cash investment from Microsoft. Billionaire Carl Icahn thinks he has a better proposal, but he says it will require some changes at the top.
In an interview with the Bloomberg business cable channel on Friday, Icahn flat out says that if he and his allies were to win in their plans to take over the PC company, its founder and current CEO Michael Dell would be pushed out. He stated, "I've never met him. I think he's a smart guy, but he would not be the one to run this company."
Icahn and another Dell investor, Southeastern Asset Management, currently control a total of 11.5 percent of Dell's stock. Their proposal to Dell shareholders would give them either $12 per share in cash or $12 in additional shares that would be worth $1.65 per share. The current proposal from Michael Dell would give those same shareholders $13.65 a share.
During the interview, Icahn also speculated on what he might do if his plans to buy Dell would be successful. He stated, "There is a shot down the road that we could -- with the PC business -- merge with Hewlett-Packard." As far as the PC industry itself is concerned, Icahn said, "We believe the PC business is still extremely attractive for the short-term because it's necessary."
However, Icahn also believes that ultimately the PC industry is a bad bet, stating, "The PC business is going downhill. In the case of Dell, we believe it will take a long time for it to go downhill."